POLITICS

Trial of Calgary psychiatrist accused of sexual assault delayed

10/16/2012 12:57 EDT | Updated 12/16/2012 05:12 EST
CALGARY - The trial of a prominent Calgary psychiatrist accused of sexually assaulting patients who were ordered by the court to see him came to a halt Tuesday after he was hospitalized.

Dr. Aubrey Levin, who is 73, was taken to hospital Monday night.

"We are advised he will undergo a medical procedure this week," Justice Donna Shelley informed the seven-man, five-woman jury.

Shelley didn't reveal any details about the medical procedure. She adjourned the case until Monday when the court will assess Levin's ability to proceed.

Last week a different jury determined that Levin, who is accused of sexually assaulting 10 men, was mentally fit to stand trial.

Although psychologists called by the defence testified that Levin has dementia and could not participate in his defence, the Crown maintained he was in the early stages and his cognitive level was no different from many other accused who go through the court system.

Levin's defence team had originally asked for a delay in the proceedings, arguing he has several health challenges including diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, reduced renal function and chronic back pain.

Levin, who uses a walker, had been sitting quietly in court, taking notes and occasionally conferring with his lawyer.

The jury had been watching a four-hour interview between Levin and a Calgary police officer following his arrest in March, 2010.

"I only wish instead of being charged I could have crawled into a hole," Levin said in the interview.

"Whatever happens, there will be mud on my face. I'm horrified also to the name and the reputation of psychiatry to have somebody charged."

But any questions about the complainant or the allegations were met with a pointed "no comment."

"'I'm not talking about him," said Levin. "I've been advised not to," he added.

After Levin was arrested, nearly two dozen other former patients came forward with abuse allegations. He is on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting 10 male patients.

Levin, who immigrated to Canada from South Africa, was frequently used by the courts to assess people and provide expert opinions at hearings. Most of his alleged victims had been ordered to see him by a judge.

Levin served briefly as regional director for the federal Psychiatric Centre Saskatoon and was licensed in 1998 to practise psychiatry in Alberta.